On Dec. 26, 2004, one of the most devastating natural disasters in history unleashed its wrath in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami that swept away more than an estimated 216,000 lives devastated not only nations, but an entire world. Almost immediately, aid came to the victims from around the globe, and charities raised billions for the cause. This sort of outpouring of charity should occur whenever people are in need, despite the severity of disaster.

According to Jan Egeland, U.N. humanitarian chief, donors from 90 countries offered not only monetary donations that reached nearly 14 billion but they also enlisted military efforts and medical services.

“I think the world was great in the tsunami,” he said. “It did exactly the right thing in the tsunami.”

The world also showed that there are more countries with bigger bank accounts than what was previously known.

“There are now 30, 40, 50 rich countries,” Egeland said, that can be tapped for funds, not just the traditional 15 donors.”

If the world could produce this amount of relief and aid for such a disaster, just imagine how quickly other world issues could be taken care of.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans shore, money was also offered instantly to rebuild the city. According to Red Cross figures, the organization raised approximately $977 million for rescue efforts.

If this spirit of giving was offered during non-kisastrous times perhaps our country could alleviate other often ignored situations, such as homelessness and become a better place for everyone.